Bill DeWitt III is out of touch with Cardinals fanbase

In a recent interview, Bill DeWitt III spoke on the impending stadium renovations, fan frustration, and payroll.
Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals
Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages

St. Louis Cardinals team president Bill DeWitt III recently spoke with Martin Kilcoyne of Fox 2 News in St. Louis. The two discussed recent reports about renovations that need to be done to Busch Stadium III, general fan frustration over the last two seasons, and how payroll and revenue are linked.

DeWitt was quite knowledgeable on the financials of the team, as he should be. He discussed the necessary renovations to Busch Stadium such as new seats, HVAC updates, lighting upgrades, etc. DeWitt shied away from giving a specific dollar amount required to update the stadium, but he did use the Milwaukee Brewers' renovations that cost $500 million as a guideline. The percentage of money that would be publicly funded was not revealed, though DeWitt reassured the fans that 90% of stadium projects have been privately funded.

The most eye-opening aspect of the interview came when Bill DeWitt spoke about the fans. He was initially complimentary of them, saying "We have an incredible fanbase, and my job is to not take that for granted and to give people a great game day experience and a winning ball club." Historically, that has been the case. DeWitt has invested heavily into the fan experience both in and around the stadium between Ballpark Village and the surrounding area. Additionally, the Cardinals have been one of the best teams by record since the turn of the century.

DeWitt then recognized fan frustration after the past season and a half.

"(Fan frustration) is definitely high. We're in last place in the (National League) Central. We all believe, and I think even our fans believe, that this is a better team than this."

Bill DeWitt III

Up to this point in the interview, DeWitt appeared aware and generally connected to fans. That all changed when he began speaking about fans reacting to the team's underperformance. His comments sparked outrage amongst fans online.

"The thing I chuckle about is when I see comments (like) "we gotta not show up to send a message that this (here, he laughs) isn't acceptable to the owners." I find that somewhat illogical reasoning because we turn this revenue machine into a payroll machine."

Bill DeWitt III

While it is true that ticket sales are a driving factor in revenue for the organization, they certainly are not the biggest factor in generating revenue. Including tickets, the average fan will spend somewhere around $90 at a baseball game (DeWitt posited $30-$50 in the interview). That's a substantial chunk of change when multiplied by 40,000; however, TV deals and advertisements remain the largest revenue generators.

The Cardinals' ownership group has seemed out of touch with the fanbase ever since owner Bill DeWitt II stated that owning a team was not a profitable venture in 2020. These comments by his son only further enlarge the gap between fans and owners.